Is Urinating at Night a Sign of a Sleep Disorder?

here are few things more annoying than waking up at night, warm and comfortable in your bed, with the overhwelming need to use the restroom. By the time you get back to bed, after stumbling to the bathroom, turning on the lights, and flushing the toilet, there’s no chance of you getting back to sleep. 

Experiences like these, if they occur frequently, can actually seriously disrupt your sleep schedule and harm your overall health. But did you know that having to urinate frequently at night is related to another sleep disorder–sleep apnea? 

Frequent Nightime Urination and Sleep Apnea

Waking to urinate throughout the night is known as nocturnia. Many people who suffer from nocturnia believe this condition is caused by a urological disorder or feel it is simply a part of aging. Recent studies show the problem could be caused by something else–sleep apnea. Here’s what you need to know about nocturnia (having to pee at night) and sleep apnea.

Is nocturnia a sleep disorder? 

According to a study conducted by the Sleep & Human Health Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 85% of the sleep apnea sufferers surveyed also experienced nocturnia. 

What normally happens when you fall asleep is that the body releases an anti-diuretic hormone that prevents the kidneys from filling up with fluid. This allows you to sleep through the night without feeling the need to urinate. However, recent studies have shown that sleep apnea affects the way this hormone is released, thereby causing the kidneys to fill up with fluid and require emptying throughout the night.

Also, patients might mistakenly blame the effects of sleep apnea on having a urinary infection or overactive bladder. If a patient wakes up the middle of the night because of sleep apnea without knowing they have the sleep disorder, they might account for the experience by saying they were woken up by the urge to go to the bathroom. 

What should I do if I urinate frequently at night? 

Not everyone with nocturnia has sleep apnea. Even so, those who exhibit other signs should undergo a sleep study to determine if sleep apnea exists. A few of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping for breath while sleeping
  • Waking frequently throughout the night (not just to go to the bathroom)
  • Feeling tired or sleepy during the day, even when you have gotten adequate rest the night before
  • Restless sleep
  • Difficulty remembering things during the day
  • Headaches that frequently occur in the morning
  • Dry throat or mouth upon waking

The good news is that when sleep apnea is treated, the nocturnia that results from it naturally decreases as well. The most common method of treating sleep apnea involves the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine to keep airways open. If you’ve been suffering from nocturnia, and find other methods of dealing with it are ineffective, the problem could be sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor and contact us to schedule an appointment.

Request a sleep study

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  1. High Rated Gabru Reply

    I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base. Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer. Thanks.

  2. Gary dell' Abate Reply

    It’s “nocturia”, not “nocturnia”.

  3. Serena Reply

    Yes, author should ensure his spelling is correct. It tends to cause doubt to readers regarding the reliability of the medical information being addressed. There’s no such thing as ‘nocturnia’ !

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    If a patient wakes up the middle of the night because of sleep apnea without knowing they have the sleep disorder, they might account for the experience by saying they were woken up by the urge to go to the bathroom.

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